Camellia (pronounced /okayəˈmɛliə/[1] or /okayəˈmliə/[2]) is a genus of flowering plant life within the family Theaceae. They’re chanced on in jap and southern Asia, from the Himalayas east to Japan and Indonesia. There are 100–300 described species, with some controversy over the exact quantity. There are also spherical 3,000 hybrids. The genus used to be named by Linnaeus after the Jesuit botanist Georg Joseph Kamel, who worked within the Philippines and described a species of camellia (even though Linnaeus did now not confer with Kamel’s legend when discussing the genus).[3] Camellias are infamous throughout East Asia; they are identified as cháhuā (茶花, ‘tea flower’) in Chinese language, tsubaki (椿) in Japanese, dongbaek-kkot (동백꽃) in Korean, and as hoa trà or hoa chè in Vietnamese.

Of business significance in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian subcontinent, leaves of C. sinensis are processed to design the most popular beverage tea. The ornamental C. japonica, C. sasanqua and their hybrids are the provision of hundreds of garden cultivars. C. oleifera produces tea seed oil, aged in cooking and cosmetics.


Leaves of Camellia sinensis, the tea plant

Camellias are evergreen shrubs or diminutive trees up to 20 m (66 feet) wide. Their leaves are alternately arranged, easy, thick, serrated, and often gleaming. Their flowers are once in a while enticing and conspicuous, one to 12 cm in diameter, with five to nine petals in naturally occurring species of camellias. The colours of the flowers vary from white by means of red colours to purple; surely yellow flowers are chanced on only in South China and Vietnam. Tea forms are continuously white-flowered. Camellia flowers throughout the genus are characterized by a dense bouquet of conspicuous yellow stamens, continuously contrasting with the petal colours.[4][5] The so-called “fruit” of camellia plant life is a dry pill, once in a while subdivided in up to five compartments, every compartment containing up to eight seeds.

The many species of camellia plant life are on the total smartly-tailored to acid soils smartly off in humus, and most species stop no longer grow smartly on chalky soil or varied calcium-smartly off soils. Most species of camellias also require a enticing quantity of water, both from natural rainfall or from irrigation, and the plant life will no longer tolerate droughts. Alternatively, a pair of of the more extra special camellias – on the total species from karst soils in Vietnam – can grow without too noteworthy water.

Camellia plant life continuously bear a snappy development charge. Usually they are going to grow about 30 cm per 365 days until veteran – even though this does vary depending on their vary and geographical relate.

Camellia plant life are aged as food plant life by the larvae of barely lots of Lepidoptera species; survey List of Lepidoptera that feed on Camellia. Leaves of the Japanese camellia (C. japonica) are liable to the fungal parasite Mycelia sterile (survey below for the significance).

Use by folk

Camellia reticulata is uncommon within the wild but has been cultivated for hundreds of years.

Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, is of foremost industrial significance due to tea is made out of its leaves. The species C. sinensis is the made out of many generations of selective breeding in remark to bring out qualities regarded as tidy for tea. Alternatively, many varied camellias would possibly maybe maybe well furthermore furthermore be aged to invent a identical beverage. For instance, in some parts of Japan, tea made out of C. sasanqua leaves is fashionable.

Tea oil is a sweet seasoning and cooking oil made by pressing the seeds of C. oleifera, C. japonica, and to a lesser extent varied species similar to C. crapnelliana, C. reticulata, C. sasanqua and C. sinensis. Barely cramped-identified outdoor East Asia, it is miles the biggest cooking oil for hundreds of hundreds and hundreds of folk, notably in southern China.

Camellia oil is many times aged to neat and provide protection to the blades of cutting instruments.

Camellia oil pressed from seeds of C. japonica, also identified as tsubaki oil or tsubaki-abura (椿油) in Japanese, has been historically aged in Japan for hair care.[6]


The camellia parasite fungus mycelia sterile PF1022 produces a metabolite named PF1022A. Here is aged to invent emodepside, an anthelmintic drug.[7]

Mainly due to habitat destruction, several camellias bear change into barely uncommon in their natural vary. One among these is the aforementioned C. reticulata, grown commercially in hundreds for horticulture and oil production, but uncommon enough in its natural vary to be regarded as a threatened species.

Fossil document

The earliest fossil document of Camellia are the leaves of †C. abensis from the upper Eocene
of Japan, †C. abchasica from the lower Oligocene of Bulgaria and
C. multiforma from the lower Oligocene of Washington, United States.[8]

Garden historic past

Camellias had been cultivated within the gardens of China and Japan for centuries ahead of they had been considered in Europe. The German botanist Engelbert Kaempfer reported[9] that the “Japan Rose”, as he called it, grew wild in woodland and hedgerow, but that many safe forms had been selected for gardens. He used to be counseled that the plant had 900 names in Japanese. Europeans’ earliest views of camellias should were their representations in Chinese language painted wallpapers, where they had been continuously represented increasing in porcelain pots.

The principle residing camellias considered in England had been a single purple and a single white, grown and flowered in his garden at Thorndon Corridor, Essex, by Robert James, Lord Petre, among the keenest gardeners of his technology, in 1739. His gardener James Gordon used to be the first to introduce camellias to commerce, from the nurseries he established after Lord Petre’s premature dying in 1743, at Mile Conclude, Essex, approach London.[10]

With the expansion of the tea exchange within the later 18th century, contemporary forms began to be considered in England, imported by means of the British East India Company. The Company’s John Slater used to be to blame for the first of the contemporary camellias, double ones, in white and a striped purple, imported in 1792. Extra camellias imported within the East Indiamen had been connected with the consumers whose gardeners grew them: a double purple for Sir Robert Preston in 1794 and the light red named “Girl Hume’s Blush” for Amelia, the girl of Sir Abraham Hume of Wormleybury, Hertfordshire (1806). The camellia used to be imported from England to The usa in 1797 when Colonel John Stevens brought the flower as share of an effort to grow points of interest inner Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey.[11] By 1819, twenty-five camellias had bloomed in England; that 365 days the first monograph appeared, Samuel Curtis’s, A Monograph on the Genus Camellia, whose five gorgeous folio coloured illustrations bear continuously been eradicated from the slender text and framed. Camellias that relate seed, even though they did now not flower for more than a decade, rewarded their growers with a wealth of most up-to-date forms. By the 1840s, the camellia used to be at the peak of its style as the luxurious flower. The Parisian courtesan Marie Duplessis, who died young in 1847, inspired Dumas’ La Dame aux camélias and Verdi’s La Traviata.

The fashionable imbricated formality of prized camellias used to be a facet in their decline, changed by the contemporary hothouse orchid. Their revival after World War I as woodland shrubs for soft climates has been paralleled by the rise in recognition of Camellia sasanqua.

Licensed cultivars

The tea camellia, Camellia sinensis, has many industrial cultivars selected for the style of their leaves once processed into tea leaves.

This present day camellias are grown as ornamental plant life for their flowers; about 3,000 cultivars and hybrids were selected, many with double or semi-double flowers. C. japonica is basically the most famed species in cultivation, with over 2,000 named cultivars. Subsequent are C. reticulata with over 400 named cultivars, and C. sasanqua with over 300 named cultivars. Normal hybrids consist of C. × hiemalis (C. japonica × C. sasanqua) and C. × williamsii (C. japonica × Camellia saluenensis|C. saluenensis). Some forms can grow to a appreciable size, up to 100 m2, even though more compact cultivars will most seemingly be found. They’re continuously planted in woodland settings, alongside varied calcifuges similar to rhododendrons, and are notably connected with areas of excessive soil acidity, similar to Cornwall and Devon within the UK. They’re extremely valued for their very early flowering, continuously among the first flowers to appear within the late wintry climate. Slack frosts can wound the flower buds, resulting in misshapen flowers.[12]

There is big vary of flower forms:

  • single (flat, bowl- or cup-fashioned)
  • semi-double (rows of enticing outer petals, with the centre comprising mixed petals and stamens)
  • double:
    • paeony manufacture (convex mass of irregular petals and petaloids with hidden stamens)
    • anemone manufacture (lots of rows of outer petals, with mixed petaloids and stamens within the centre)
    • rose manufacture (overlapping petals exhibiting stamens in a concave centre when commence)
    • formal double (rows of overlapping petals with hidden stamens)

AGM cultivars

The following hybrid cultivars bear obtained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit:

Establish Parentage Height Spread Flower color Flower style Ref.
Cornish Snow cuspidata × saluenensis 2.5 1.5 white single [13]
Cornish Spring cuspidata × japonica 2.5 1.5 red single [14]
Francie L reticulata × saluenensis 8.0 8.0 rose-red double [15]
Freedom Bell × williamsii 2.5 2.5 purple semi-double [16]
Inspiration reticulata × saluenensis 4.0 2.5 rose-red semi-double [17]
Leonard Messel reticulata × saluenensis 4.0 4.0 rose-red semi-double [18]
Royalty japonica × reticulata 1.0 1.0 light purple semi-double [19]
Spring Competition × williamsii, cuspidata 4.0 2.5 red semi-double [20]
Tom Knudsen japonica × reticulata 2.5 2.5 deep purple double paeony [21]
Tristrem Carlyon reticulata 4.0 2.5 rose red double paeony [22]

Cultural significance

Portrait of a New Zealand suffragette, circa 1880. The sitter wears a white camellia, symbolic of serve for advancing girls’s rights.

The Camellia family of plant life in fashionable culture.

Extra reading

  • More durable, A.; Holden–Dye, L.; Walker, R. & Wunderlich, F. (2005): Mechanisms of action of emodepside. Parasitology Learn 97(Supplement 1): S1-S10. doi: 10.1007/s00436-005-1438-z (HTML abstract)

  • Mair, V.; Hoh, E. (2009): The Obliging History of Tea. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-25146-1.
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